Tiny Kitchen? 5 Ways To Make It Work

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There are small kitchens.  Then there are tiny kitchens.  If you love to cook, as I do, it's difficult to not clutter and keep a tiny kitchen clean.  Clutter in a tiny kitchen can make it depressant to cook in.  I know it isn't easy cooking in a tiny kitchen.  There's never enough counterspace to work on.  How, where do you store food and kitchen tools?  Are you a couple who like to cook together but space makes it difficult?    Sometimes, it's just easier to go out and eat! 

Still, there are some ways to not only make a tiny kitchen attractive but also efficient.  Here are 5 great tiny kitchens that illustrate this.

1.  Storage
Find creative ways to store kitchen tools

  • Here, additional storage shelves over the cabinets extend to the ceiling, utilizing what is typically "dead space" over cabinets.
  • An attractive basket on top of the freezer-refrigertor offers more storage.
  • Make a blank wall work for you.  This wall is used to hang attractive chopping boards.  

This tiny kitchen was described as a chef's dream kitchen.  Personally, on one hand it seems busy, on the other hand it works well.  Colors are limited and its well organized.  I love that everything for cooking and serving is easily accessible.  The natural light from the window opens out the tiny space and reduces the feeling of being cramped.

2.  Light
Bring in lots of light

  • The skylight window is to die for!!  The wall windows under the skylight emits beautiful continuous light which always suggests more space.  
  • If you are not fortunate enough to have windows in the kitchen, look for wall space to place a mirror or even a large picture with a glass.
  • Install under cabinet lighting.  String light is easy to add and you can take it with you when you move.  It offers an intimate ambiance; more importantly, it lights up your countertop workspace. They're easily found on the internet or you can visit stores such as Home Depot.

3.  Dining
Add your own eating space when none exist.

  • A wall-mounted table top with a leaf that drops down when not in use.  Notice too how it still provides storage space from the small ledge that is attached to the wall.
  • This wall-mounted tabletop can also provide a small work space.
  • This all white kitchen is balanced with the soft pattern on an entire wall.  Don't want to use wall-paper?  Paint a pattern, such as a stencil or use wall decals.

4.  Flooring  
Add a rug and/or use large patterns to create visual spaciousness   

  • The floor space is narrow.  Yet, the large diamond pattern on the floor suggests spaciousness. It's color is repeated in the boards leaning against the wall and the roll-up shade on the window.

5.  Clutter and Organization
Reduce the look of clutter.  Organize.  

  • No cabinet space?  Add shelves and organize. 
  • Avoid cluttering.  Not enough storage, then organize it.
  • Group like items together.

How Would You make This Tiny Kitchen Work?

  • Color?
  • Storage?
  • Lighting?  Options to address no windows?
  • Flooring?
  • Countertops?

Suming It All Up . . . and then some

By now you're probably thinking, "Shirley, get real! My tiny kitchen in my tiny apartment has a few cabinets and one wipe with a sponge cleans the one counter space!"


Okay, I hear you.  But we can do more than just drool over other peoples dream kitchens with lots of tall cabinets, counter space,  islands, and windows.  OMG, a window!  How divine.  Believe it or not, most apartments I've lived in had kitchens that didn't have a window.  And that's true for the apartment I currently live in.

So what do we do? See these boring honey oak cabinets to the right?  I found it on The Kitchn.com where it was suggested to paint the walls a darker color.  It works.  I once lived in an apartment similar to this.  I painted two walls a dark cocoa brown like a chocolate Hershey bar.  I got the landlord to agree allowing me to replace the fridge with a chocolate brown side-by-side freezer-refrigerator.  The design was stunning, even the cabinets looked beautiful!  

In short . . .

  • Reduce clutter as much as possible.  But if you must store items in the open, group them in threes and leave some counter space; try to display items that are similar in color and shape; and display items that have light reflective quality, such as glass and glazed ceramics.
  • Have an ugly counter top or one that is marred.  Cover it with a large, attractive chopping block.
  • Add a high gloss paint on the back splash area under cabinets and behind the range if you don't already have it.  Not only is it easier to clean but it reflects more light. 
  • If you can't change the flooring, look for a rug runner, especially one that has a large geometric design.  It will give the "feeling" of a roomier kitchen space.
  • Store a collection of items (but grouped) on cabinet tops.  I have a collection of beautiful clear glass candle holder and vases that just sparkle with pride (or at least my pride).
  • If allowed, add narrow storage shelves to a kitchen galley wall  but neatly and attractively mounted.  Use the same or similar storage containers.
  • Make room for at least one plant, such as a potho plant.  It tolerates low light.  One of its benefits is that it helps to clean the air of some pollutants.  If you have a window with good lighting, why not add potted herbs?  
  • If you don't have a window, find a spot for a mirror.
  • And finally, pay attention to the decor:  color scheme and art works.

Most of all, have fun making your tiny kitchen one of the best places to be in your apartment.  A glass of wine, lovely music, preparing a great meal simply tops the end of the day.  Add a significant other or just your pet and you've got a glimpse of heaven!

How Are You Improving the Use of your tiny kitchen?


(This post has been updated and moved from www.annsliees.com.)